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Turning 21 and celebrating your 21st is seen as the big celebration and the year that you become an adult, but turning 18 is actually more of a big deal - especially here in Australia. It not only marks your transition into adulthood, but there are quite a few responsibilities that go along with it.
In 1990 the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons. Celebrant Sonia Collins from Batemans Bay, NSW gives us a few ideas about celebrating the older people in our families and communities.
Have you ever thought of giving a loved one a ceremony as a gift? Perhaps this sounds a bit strange but think about it a bit more. How many people recognise this scenario:
Your sister from interstate rings - "It's Mum's 80th birthday in 3 months time - what are we going to do about it?" You talk a little more and decide that it would be a good time to get the family together and have a bit of a party to celebrate. So the message goes out - the family are all primed to be at Mum's favourite restaurant where you have booked a private room for lunch on the big day. A few of Mum's close friends are let in on the secret and invited and the plan is underway.
The next phone call is almost inevitable - "what shall we get Nan for a present? - it should be something special for her 80th" So you talk to a friend who happens to be a Celebrant. And this is what you come up with:
Let the celebration be the gift
Suggest to all attending that the very best gift for Mum will be the company and love of her family and friends. Agree that each will make a contribution to that gift by being a participant in the day. Engage a Civil Celebrant to coordinate the arrangements and conduct a short ceremony before the lunch. Decide to share the cost of the meal and Celebrant in whatever way is fair for your family and circumstances.
Your Celebrant will put a lot of work into the day as Coordinator and Presenter. She will work with you to design your ideal ceremony. Her suggestions might include - Let the children and grandchildren nominate a role they will take on the day - to sing, play, read a poem, make a DVD from Mum's photos, compile a CD of songs from different eras of your Mum's life, present flowers, make a speech, bake a cake, escort Nan to the venue and so on. Your celebrant will weave these contributions into a ceremony. She may invite everyone who is attending to write a letter or card that shares some special memory they have of your Mum and compile these into a gift book. She will probably record the highlights of Mum's life There are many possibilities and you will be able to discuss these and decide what suits your needs.
By the time the big day arrives you and your family will have created a unique gift for a special person.
To find a The Celebrants Network Celebrant to help you plan or to get more information and ideas for a special celebration have a look at our website